The witch report: Tilda’s new role inspired by fate of Scottish ‘sorceresses’
IN her latest role she plays a dance teacher in league with the witches who prey on her innocent ballerinas.
Now Tilda Swinton has revealed how her performance in the gothic horror movie Suspiria was inspired by Scotland’s historic tales of witchcraft.
The Oscar-winning actress, who lives in Nairn with her twin children Xavier and Honor by artist John Byrne, said she was compelled to make the film.
She said: ‘I live not far from the village in the Highlands where the last witch in Scotland was burned, less than 300 years ago.
‘Closer still, a mile from where I live, a woman called Isobel Gowdie – a gifted storyteller and charismatically self-possessed – was burnt at the stake, having “confessed” to myriad acts of “witchery”.’
Janet Horne was the last person to be executed legally for witchcraft in the British Isles in 1727. She and her daughter were arrested in Dornoch, and imprisoned on the accusations of her neighbours.
Isobel Gowdie confessed to witchcraft at Auldearn near Nairn during 1662.
An illiterate farm labourer’s wife, she was tortured for six weeks and then burnt after confessing she had been a member of a coven in the service of the Devil, with whom she was alleged to have had carnal dealings.
OCCULT OFFERING: Tilda Swinton and her bewitching ballerinas, left, in the new horror movie Suspiria